EVIL is a Giant Cockroach Trying To Bite Your Head Off…Man! “Love and Monsters” reviewed! (Paramount / Blu-ray Review)

For seven years, monsters have ravaged the human race to nearly extinction after nuclear nations destroyed an planet killing meteor in space, but the radioactive debris that fall back to Earth mutated the smallest creatures into monstrous killing machines.  Humans have been divided into colonies forced into underground bunkers.  Joel Dawson has been barely surviving with bunk mates who see him as a liability in his inability to act when faced with a monster situation and has been unable to connect, romantically, with another person.  When Joel discovers his high school sweetheart is 85 miles away in another colony, Joel decides to leave the bunker safe haven and journey across the dangerous surface for seven days for the sole purpose of love.  Forced to face his fears and adapt to survive a perilous land full of giant centipedes, hungry massive toads, and a crusty crab the size of a two story building, Joel must rely on his instincts and the help of rule-following topside survivors to see again the girl he thought he lost.

Add “Love and Monsters,” a monstrously romantic creature feature, right up there with “Warm Bodies” as this decade’s version of horror and love dancing the tangled tango in this kill or be eaten comedy-love pursuit directed by Michael Matthews.  The 2020 release is Matthews’ sophomore directorial from a script co-written between Brian Duffield and Matthew Robinson off a Duffield’s original “Monster Problems” script.  Duffield is best known for penning last year’s water leviathan success, “Underwater,” starring Kristen Stewart, with “Monster Trucks’” Robinson coming aboard to finesse the grand adventure mechanism that makes “Love and Monsters” a singular trek through heart-thumping terrorland.  The Canadian production filmed in the amalgam terrain of Australia is produced by Dan Cohen and Shawn Levy, who both know a thing or two about doomsday premises in producing Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and the Denis Villeneuve sleeper sci-fi first contact film, “Arrival,” under 21 Laps Entertainment in association with Entertainment One and Paramount Pictures distribution in North America.

A singular journey of bushwhacking and survival falls upon the shoulders of a young man who hasn’t yet transitioned to be an adult. From the time he was 16 years old, Joel Dawson knew love, but didn’t know how to fend for himself when life gets tough….really tough, like, full of carnivorous creatures in an end of humanity and heading to extinction tough. Yet, as adults, we thrive on challenges as our brains have learned to adapt with each new level of adversity and obstacle. For Joel, being stuck in the past, reliving a swift romance, has suspended him in nowheresville as he struggles to find love and age-appropriate interaction with of his kind peers. Dylan O’Brian captures Joel’s inability to see the clearly world around him because, literally, he hasn’t seen or experienced the world for about a third of his young life. Portrayed early on in young adult fiction with his feet firm in the heartthrob remake of “Teen Wolf” television series and coming out of adapted for film “The Maze Runner” trilogy, O’Brien discovers that being feeble and lonely can be just as powerful as being a werewolf or a dystopian survivalist; instead, O’Brien up-plays the quirky, quick-witted, outcast with delusions about his solitary and unpopularity as he finds fortitude by trekking seven days through a monster-riddled hell to rekindle his relationship with Amiee, the last person he personally felt a connection to who hasn’t been squished under the foot of a Granddaddy Long Leg. “The Head Hunter” and “Underwater” star, Jessica Henwick, retunes her vocal chords to present her best American English accent in order to be Joel’s live-or-die love interest, if she hasn’t changed in the last seven horrible years. Yet, before Joel and Amiee reunite in what’s a finger-crossable moment of love again at first sight, the meek Joel Dawson needs to go through, what half the monsters outside have already gone through, is a metamorphosis of sorts to be bigger, tougher, and more self-reliant. This is where MCU alums, Michael Rooker (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Ariana Greenblatt (“Avengers: Infinity War”) step in. As Clyde, Rooker’s the Bear Grylls of monster land, knowing all the tips and tricks of topside survival all the while sporting a Richard Simmons perm, whereas Greenblatt, as the orphaned Minnow traveling in companion with Clyde, is just rugged despite her pintsize. “Love and Monsters” really focuses on these four individuals that mainly perpetuate only one of them, Joel, to be the best survivor he can be at the bottom of the food chain, but other minor characters do arise and nudge brash action that requires the solidity of an unbroken community chain. Dan Ewing (“Occupation”), Ellen Hollman (“Asylum”), Pacharo Mzembe, Tre Hale, Senie Priti, Amalie Golden, and “The Road Warrior’s” Bruce Spence makes a cameo appearance as Old Pete.

What I find interesting about “Love and Monsters,” that’s more prevalent in most post-apocalypse themed plots, is the lack of dog-eat-dog between humans.  While the story mainly skirts around the concept with a running gag that the real reason Joel left his colony is because he’s a no-good food stealer, Joel’s interactions with his and Amiee’s colonies, plus in his travels with Clyde and Minnow, showed no sign of deception or greed, a rare and humbling dynamic when starved, weary, and scared people are backed against a wall and cutthroat advantages are at arm’s length; instead, a real sense of community and compassion is committed that brings a sense of hope, not for just Joel in a world conquered by monsters, but for also audiences with pessimistic views about the volatility of man.  Even with all the fears of A.I hostile takeover, tender moments of man face-to-face with machine seals that threat into inexistence as Joel comes across a damaged MAV1S unit, an anatomical automaton built for servicing humanity, borders that plane of complex human emotions with all the right things to say and able to read what Joel needs to here to keep him moving in a sacrificial scene of the androids’ last hurrah before complete battery drain.  “Love and Monsters” doesn’t do a complete withdrawal from the hypodermic needle of inhuman poison, but the concept is certainly not the emphasis.  With a title like “Love and Monsters,” you want the monsters to be, at the very least, half of the story, as promised, and we’re treated to a slew of different monsters with different personalities and with different innate weapons. Not all the monsters are blood thirsty. Some are gentle, but judged for their immense size and scary physical attributes and Matthews points this important theme out in a trope about-face, signifying that just because this is a monster movie, doesn’t mean all monsters have been unjustly deemed vicious and terrorizing. In a way, these monsters parallel in being judged just as inaccurately as Joel is by his survivalist peers without so much as the benefit of the doubt and only when a trust evolves from out of being scared is when judgements wash away with sheltered conventional thinking. Diminutive inside a fantasyland of behemoth horrors, “Love and Monsters” has a tremendous heart with an interpersonal message about understanding connections with people inside the mixed-messaged confines of coming into adulthood.

If we don’t nuke ourselves out of existence first, the lifeforms underneath the soles of our shoes will gladly seize dominance for an easy, human-sized, snack in Michael Matthews’ “Love and Monsters” now released on Blu-ray plus digital, as well as 4K Ultra HD and DVD, courtesy of Paramount Pictures. The PG-13 action-adventure creature feature is presented in high definition, 1080p, widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Australia is already a futuristic land of gorgeous overgrowth and untouched wonder, Lachlan Milne trades in the practical (zombie horde) aesthetics of “Little Monsters” to a transcending larger types of monsters to scale an open world environment to eventually be combined with post-production visual effects of Kaiju-sized myriapods, crustaceans, and amphibians to just name a few. Award winning VFX company, The Mill, has seamless and organic creations that blend truth and deception with the scariest of ease as creatures explode out of the ground or lumber above head with no angle left uncovered or underdeveloped in giving audiences unmistakable visuals of our nightmares. The English language 7.1 DTS-HD master audio mix is the epitome of well balanced with clear dialogue, a complimentary soundtrack, and a long range and diverse depth of sound engineered monsters being monsters from low, sonorous gutturals to the high cracks and pops of creature movements. Inside a cardboard slipcover, The Paramount Pictures Blu-ray comes with a digital movie code to add to your digital movie collection to watch anywhere, but the release also comes with deleted scenes, a “Bottom of the Food Chain” featurette feature snippet interviews with the cast and crew, and “It’s a Monster World: Creating a Post-Apocalyptic Landscape” that dives into the natural preserve combined with production design to create the apocalypse illusion. Adventurously invigorating and outside the norm of telling story patterns, “Love and Monsters” romanticizes the post-apocalypse with a self love theme in a hope-inspiring and fun creature-crammed monster movie.

Blu-ray of “Love and Monsters.” Click poster to purchase at Amazon.com!

UK Release of “Lights Out” Wants to Remind You That Darkness is Evil!

With the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment December 12th release of David F. Sandberg’s “Lights Out,” a frightening film that will make you afraid of the being alone in the dark just as “Jaws” did for swimming in the ocean’s water, hitting Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download, there are others to celebrate the darkness surrounding them with a list of iconic horror (and comic book) legends in which the dark has influenced them, has inspired, has empowered them, and has made genre-bending characters the most evil monstrosities in their own right.

Count Dracula

dracula

As Seen In: Dracula (1931)
From: Transylvania. Though partial to the odd British holiday.
Profile: Dracula (Bela Lugosi) is an ancient-but-charming aristocrat with a big castle and dodgy accent. Likes sucking blood and terrorizing English toffs.
The Story: The Count comes to England for a spot of neck biting, but gets the stake from Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan).
The Dark Side: The sunlight kills Dracula. Or weakens him (depends on which film you’re watching, to be honest). Either way, he’d prefer you kept the blinds shut.
Some Light On The Subject: With his big shadowy castle, fear of daylight, and penchant for a midnight snack, Dracula is cinema’s original “creature of the night”.

Gremlins

gremlins

As Seen In: Gremlins (1984)
From: Discovered in a Chinatown antiques shop, albeit in their much cuter Mogwai form.
Profile: The Mogwais turn into mischievous green monsters, who enjoy messing with electrics and, erm, watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
The Story: The Gremlins run amok over wholesome town Kingston Falls and ruin Christmas.
The Dark Side: Much like Dracula, sunlight kills them. Even a camera flash sends them scurrying.
Some Light On The Subject: The Gremlins take a classic horror trope – the monster who doesn’t like light – and make it one the film’s three “rules” (no bright lights, no feeding after midnight, and DON’T get them wet – that’s just asking for trouble, that is).

Buffalo Bill

buffalobill

As Seen In: The Silence of the Lambs (1990)
From: Ohio, where he has the most bizarre workshop in the history of tailoring.
Profile: Real name Jame Gumb (Ted Levine), a serial killer who kidnaps women so he can make his his own “woman suit” with their skin.
The Story: Dr Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) helps FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster). After noshing the faces off a few prisons guards, naturally.
The Dark Side: Gumb traps Starling in his cellar, stalking her in his night vision goggles.
Some Light On The Subject: The dark becomes a deadly weapon. It’s masterful stuff, using the viewer’s primal fear of darkness to create scares.

Bioraptors

bioraptor

As Seen In: Pitch Black (2000)
From: A planet in the M-344/G System. Science speak for “somewhere in deep space”.
Profile: Species of aliens that live in the darkness. Look like a much daintier hammerhead shark. Dangerous, but no match for intergalactic criminal Riddick (Vin Diesel).
The Story: Riddick and a ship of space travelers crash land on the planet, just as it’s about to enter a moth-long eclipse. Typical.
The Dark Side: Another one that can’t stand the sunlight. Strange that they should live on a planet that only gets dark every 22 years.
Some Light On The Subject: This does for the dark what Jaws did for the ocean.

Anne and Nicholas Stewart

anne-and-nicholas-stewart

As Seen In: The Others (2001)
From: A dusty old house on Jersey, where they live with their uptight mother Grace (Nicole Kidman).
Profile: Deathly pale and mollycoddled.
The Story: After new servants arrives at the house, strange events lead the family to believe the house may be haunted. Probably never occurred to them that they’re the ghosts.
The Dark Side: They suffer from a rare photosensitive condition – forcing their neurotic mother to obsessively close the curtains. It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep mysteriously opening on their own. Spooky.
Some Light On The Subject: The kids’ condition is a smart twist on an old horror trope, making the darkness a key plot device.

Batman

batman

As Seen In: Batman Begins (2005)
From: Gotham City. Which is about as dark-sounding as a city gets.
Profile: Orphaned billionaire who dresses up like a bat.
The Story: After witnessing his parents’ murder, Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) reinvents himself as the Dark Knight, turning feat back on the criminals.
The Dark Side: Spends most of his time creeping around in the shadows on tip-toes so he can jump out on the baddies.
Some Light On The Subject: Though not an actual horror character, Batman is intrinsically tied to the night, fear, and darkness – fusing super-heroics with gothic elements. Check out his first mission in the Bat-suit, lunging out of the shadows vampire-like to snare his prey.

Diana

diana

As Seen In: Lights Out (2016)
From: An old mental institute, where she was killed in a freak accident while doctors attempted to treat her light-sensitive skin condition.
Profile: Returning from the dead, she’s become a crazed psychotic obsessed with keeping former institute pal Sophie (Maria Bello) all to herself.
The Story: Diana stalks or kills anyone who stands in the way of her friendship with Sophie. Bad news for her kids Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) and Martin (Gabriel Bateman).
The Dark Side: Like all great monsters, Diana can only exist in the dark. So keep those lights very much on.
Some Light On The Subject: Perhaps the most ingenious take on cinema’s of the dark yet. The darkness becomes the monster.

lightsoutbr

“Lights Out” SYNOPSIS:
“When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out…and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.

Teresa Palmer (“Triple 9,” “Warm Bodies”) stars as Rebecca; Gabriel Bateman (“Annabelle”) as Martin; Billy Burke (the “Twilight” franchise) as Martin’s father, Paul; Alexander DiPersia (“Forever”) as Rebecca’s boyfriend, Bret; and Maria Bello (“Prisoners”) as Sophie. Annabelle 2’s David F. Sandberg helms the script of “Final Destination 5” screenwriter Eric Heisserer.

BLU-RAY AND DVD ELEMENTS

• Deleted scenes

DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION ELEMENTS

On December 12, “Lights Out” will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers including; Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Sky Store, Sony Playstation, Wuaki.tv and Talk Talk.

BASICS

PRODUCT SRP

Blu-ray £15.99

DVD £9.99

Street Date: December 12, 2016

DVD Languages: English

BD Languages

DVD Subtitles: English SDH

BD Subtitles: English

Running Time: 81 minutes

Rating: Rated 15 for strong supernatural threat, bloody images

Evil Exes Never Die! “Burying the Ex” review!

output_5ZCxGv

Max believes he’s found the perfect move-in girlfriend with Evelyn: she’s nice, she’s hot, she loves sex. However, when Evelyn’s over-protective, save the planet, go vegan or go home boorish attitude becomes too much for Max to bare, he attempts to break up their dwindling relationship, but ends up accidentally killing her long after making a solid promise, in front of a mysterious satanic genie figurine, to always be with her. Max’s regrets surge him into a depressive state until he meets the beautiful Olivia, the perfect opposite sex carbon-copy of himself. Everything seems to be coming together for Max until Evelyn digs up and out from her grave and returns to him as a decomposing and clingy zombie girlfriend, picking up right where their relationship left off.
vlcsnap-2015-11-19-23h13m52s0
The 2014 romantic horror-comedy “Burying the Ex” is the first feature film from “Gremlins” director Joe Dante since 2009; a six-year stint that resulted in the outcome of this odd, but familiar blended genre film. Dante hasn’t kept his directorial hands too much in the horror genre pot in over two decades with the small exceptions of a “Masters of Horror” short film and 2009’s “The Hole,” the director hasn’t lost his signature touch of dishing out deadpan humor and fusing a knowledgeable palate of horror to go with it making “Burying the Ex” one of the most morbidly fascinating horror releases in the modern zombie age. Another trademark of Dante is casting a familiar face and sure enough, Dick Miller makes a cameo appearance. I swear I thought he was dead.
vlcsnap-2015-11-19-23h17m39s230
“Burying the Ex’s” cast is compiled of seriously underrated, but without a double awe-inspiring generating actors and actresses with the reboot of “Star Trek’s” Anton Yelchin headlining the way as the film’s main character Max. Max’s passiveness quality fits perfectly with Yelchin’s dry delivery and awkward mannerism style and Max’s passion for horror feels natural coming from Yelchin with the actor’s similar background work from “Odd Thomas” and the remake of “Fright Night.” However, aside from playing Chekov from “Star Trek,” this character is more of the same from the 26-year-old actor. Yelchin’s antagonist portraying co-star Ashley Greene, from the vampire romance series “Twilight,” marks well being the strong, opposing character against Max, portraying the snobby and overbearing girlfriend Evelyn. Though Greene is usually quite beautiful and stunning in other roles, the Evelyn character is a breath of fresh (or rotten in this case) air with a bit a sassy appeal. Greene casts an already slightly models-like thin appearance with features that strike well with the characters overall gaunt look, creating a well on it’s way decomposing zombie.
vlcsnap-2015-11-19-23h14m42s251
The supporting actor and actress completely round out Dante’s playfully twisted take on a stalking ex-lover. Oliver Cooper has Max’s back as his sex-crazed, exploitive half brother Travis. Cooper’s fast talking, negotiating-type personality reminisces his “Project X” work and though Cooper’s range as an actor feels limited, Travis works here as being the yang to Max’s yin. Finally, the absolutely gorgeous Alexandra Daddario’s relieves the, if any, thrilling tension and Max’s shortcomings with a quirky, adorable, and cute as hell horror-inspired malt shop owner. Though Daddario’s role might not spark a social media firestorm like her “True Detective” bare it all role, Daddario’s Olivia attempts and achieves an one-eighty, pulling off a split personality from the standard hot girl part in these types of romantic horror-comedies and showing that even the most nerdy of girls can be the girl of your dreams. Daddario is also almost unrecognizable in this role when compared to her previous works.
vlcsnap-2015-11-19-23h15m19s105
The script penned by newcomer Alan Trezza needs some fine tuning. This fantastic hard sell doesn’t fall to fault from with the cast as the story moves along at a roadrunner pace and fails, purposely I’m speculating, to explain the background on the satan genie statue that’s extends the root cause of Max’s problem. Not even a smidgen of background to alleviate any the tiniest inquiries of satan genie is revealed and just leaves the audience wondering just who sent the evil wish granting product. However, the subtle tongue and cheek manner of Trezza’s first feature revels in quirky contentment, leaving the horror and the comedy as equals. “Burying the Ex” shares a similar story we’ve all seen before – “My Boyfriend’s Back,” “Life After Beth,” “Warm Bodies” – but each of those tales told have a distinctive quality and a cast of a different caliber.
vlcsnap-2015-11-19-23h16m23s230
Since this a screener copy from UK distribution company High Fliers Films, I’m unable to review the picture and audio quality nor comment on the extras, but as far as a distributed film pickup for the company to release, “Burying the Ex” will live, and return, beyond the grave again and again and again. Dante’s romantic horror-comedy feasts on horror homage and dry wit while delivering surprisingly only little gore. “Burying the Ex” is available on UK DVD from High Fliers Films and can be purchased from most UK online retailers.